HISTORY.

Ordered from Messrs. Beyer, Peacock & Co., Ltd., during 1914 and delivered after the Great War in 1919 were three 2’ gauge NG/G11 articulated Garratt steam locomotives, numbered 51, 52 and 53 respectively.

They were erected at the Uitenhage workshops and, after trials in May 1920 on the Avontuur line, two were placed in service on the Stuartstown ( Ixopo) branch line in Natal.

Sir William Hoy, General Manager, South African Railways & Harbours, in his report for 1921-22, recorded : “ The narrow gauge Garratt engines, placed in service on the Stuartstown branch, are most economical and have reduced train mileage and trainsmen’s hours. Their introduction has also effected a saving of one engine and train crew.”

A further order was placed for two similar locomotives, No’s 54 and 55, which were supplied by Messrs. Beyer, Peacock & Co. These engines were fitted with superheater boilers and piston valves.

They were erected in the Durban workshops during April, 1925. The total weight of the engine in full working order was 48 tons 4 ¾ cwts.”

The locomotives were used mostly in Natal on the various branch lines.

NG/G 55 remained plinthed at Weenen, after the Estcourt to Weenen line’s closure, and is at present at the local recreation club grounds.

It is intended that this locomotive will be restored to working order at Umgeni Steam Railway’s Masons Mill locomotive depot.

It will thereafter be placed in service on the preserved Ixopo to Madonela branchline being operated by Paton’s Country Narrow Gauge Railway.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION.

“ In cases where locomotives of exceptional tractive force are required and particularly where the track, bridges and curvatures do not allow development of existing designs due to axle-load limitations, the number of  coupled wheels required demands articulated types.

The Garratt locomotive has two sets of frames and wheel arrangements with one boiler. In this way the number of coupled wheels can be doubled and correspondingly high tractive effort developed.

The boiler is carried in a cradle suspended on pivot centers attached to the frames each of which is free to align itself to track curvature.

The use of these locomotives enables the capacity of a line to be approximately doubled without strengthening the track, bridges and culverts, or improving the curvature.

The Garratt runs equally well in either direction.”

 

Cylinder Bore x Stroke.                        10 ¾ “ x 16”

Driving Wheel Diameter.                    2’ 6”

Boiler Pressure  lb/sq. in.                    180

Tubes, 1 ¾ in. diam.             (*)           211

Boiler internal diameter. (*)                4’ 2”

Tractive Effort. (75%) B.P.  15876

Engine Weight (Working Order)       48t 4c

Total Length over Couplers.              45’ 5”     

Grate Area sq. ft.                                  19.5

Max. Axle Load.                                   6t 11c     

Front Tank Capacity.           (*)           970 gallons.

Hind Tank Capacity.            (*)           380 gallons.

                                                                2 ½ tons of coal.

 (*) Data relates to 51, 52 & 53.

 

REFERENCES.

 The Locomotive in South Africa                                       T. J. Espitalier & W. A. J. Day.

Locomotives of the South African Railways.                  Leith Paxton & David Bourne.

Railways of Southern Africa.

Locomotive Guide 1993 Edition.                                        J. N. Middleton.